By: Julie Basa
It’s that time again… Multicast Monday and this week we’re talking about bandwidth smoothing. I just wrapped up my third week at Ramp. It was a great week, and I continue to learn so much. Our customer SAS Institute joined us and Wainhouse Research for a webinar to talk about how they’re saving their network from the increasing demand for internal videos. If you missed it, you can watch the replay here.
The team really thought of everything when they built Ramp’s enterprise content management network (eCDN) solutions. In my first blog, I told you about Multicast+’s software-defined networking, security and its ability to work with virtually any video player, and on April 15, I talked about its unparalleled quality and efficiency.
So, this week I thought I’d dive a little deeper to find out what’s so special about our “bandwidth smoothing technologies.” Turns out, we’ve got some really smart developers.
Forward Error Correction
Forward error correction—or FEC—is Ramp’s patented method for managing a momentary loss of data. Multicast+ encodes audio and visual bits by organizing them into two-dimensional blocks. The blocks contain forward- and backward-predictive information, helping the decoder reconstruct lost packets. You might be thinking other solutions do the same thing, but we take it two steps further.
Ramp’s FEC uses data from longer periods of time than other solutions, so each block contains more information. Then, we rotate the blocks 90 degrees, so data lost equates to small chunks from several groups of bits rather than large chunks from a single set of bits. As a result, packets can be almost fully reconstructed when they arrive at the decoder smoothing bandwidth usage.
Imagine what would happen if your multicast server failed. All of a sudden, your network would be flooded with individual streams. For the sake of simple math, if 10,000 people are watching your live stream, you’d have approximately 20,000 mbps of data travelling your network all at once.*
With Multicast+, you can deploy a high-availability cluster of senders and establish a heartbeat communication between them. When a missed heartbeat is detected, the functional sender with the highest priority immediately takes over as the active sender. This backend process is so transparent to viewers, they won’t even notice.
Ramp’s forward error correction and heartbeat monitoring are just two ways Multicast+ is one of the most reliable eCDNs on the market today—even on wireless networks.
*For this calculation, we’re assuming one video stream is equal to 2mbps.